City Living Starts Here. It’s a simple tagline. But its brevity is backed by a wealth of resources and information that more than 7,000 individuals utilized this past fiscal year.
As we conclude our 16th year of operation, or as we call it, our Sweet 16, we are pleased to share some of the major accomplishments for our organization—and our city—in this fiscal year annual report.
Foremost in 2013, we celebrated the news that Baltimore’s population grew by 1,100 individuals, an increase to 621,342 residents. Our report details the outreach measures we employed to contribute to this achievement.
We are also excited to introduce a new look: both to our logo and our website. We hope each will inspire curiosity and discovery, highlighting our thriving neighborhoods and vibrant culture, while continuing to help grow Baltimore’s residential population.
Our success would not be possible without the dedication of our volunteers and the generosity of our foundation partners, donors, marketing partners, and the City of Baltimore. Thank you.
–Steven Gondol, Executive Director
Moving to a new city is hard and often scary. Even moving to a new place in the same city has its obstacles. And a city with more than 250 neighborhoods, 250 individual communities, and 250 distinct personalities can be tough to navigate, to say the least.
What if you had a helping hand, a guide to walk with you as you discover the right neighborhood for you by exploring Baltimore’s many local treasures? Someone who knew the benefits of city living and had done all the research on each and every incentive that is available citywide—and how you can receive and use them. Imagine all this knowledge with the approachability of a good neighbor. That’s what Live Baltimore is to me.
The way we measure our programs, define our successes, and determine our path forward are sure to interest you. But beyond the facts and figures that you will find included here, I want you to know what it’s like to experience Live Baltimore’s work from another point of view, a perspective that we should all be so lucky to see. This spring, my daughter became a first time homebuyer and moved into Baltimore City (I’m thrilled to have her so close by, but that’s another story). Her first steps were hard, full of confusion and frustration. Naturally, I pointed her in Live Baltimore’s direction. From there, her experience improved in leaps and bounds- she even learned that she was eligible for $21,000 in homebuying incentives, including $5,000 through the Live Near Your Work program. The incredible education, the comprehensive resources, and the personal attention she received were unparalleled. The thoroughness of the information she learned eased the homebuying process greatly and has enabled her to become an ambassador for the city. I’m very proud of her.
What I really want you to know though is that my daughter is not unique. Each individual, each family that comes to Live Baltimore is met with the same openness, the same level of information, the same personal touch. And because they come to Live Baltimore, they learn about the $5,000 - $38,000 of incentives that can be received and used towards the purchase of a new home. This is what Live Baltimore does. Our commitment to growing Baltimore City is accomplished one person at a time. And it’s working. Baltimore City is blossoming. Our generous donors, our energetic partners, our tireless and passionate volunteers never stop championing this city and are vital to increasing the city’s population. Together, we will flourish.
–Darlene Brannigan Smith, Ph.D., Board President
"Baltimore City is a fast-growing, diverse and vibrant urban hub that is the location of choice for residential living."
Since 1997, Live Baltimore has worked to promote residential living in the City of Baltimore—fighting the population loss that has plagued many cities since the end of World War II. Live Baltimore’s mission is to accelerate Baltimore’s growth by promoting the city as a great place to live and by accentuating its thriving neighborhoods.
Many city residents know Live Baltimore best for our “I ♥ City Life” initiative. Bumper stickers, window decals, and license plates containing this popular slogan can be found throughout Baltimore. A battle cry for those invested in the city, “I ♥ City Life” calls on residents to show their pride of place. And as such, the campaign has continued to gain popularity since its inception in 1998 (by pioneers, Carolyn and Kevin O’Keefe).
As passionate advocates for the city, Live Baltimore envisions a stable population of residents who care for their homes, neighbors, and communities. Our focus on growth comes from the knowledge that cities with stable and sustainable populations provide safer neighborhoods, stronger communities, and more opportunities for everyone.
We are grateful for the ongoing support of our donors, volunteers, partners, collaborators, and friends—without whom our work would be impossible. From volunteering at our events, to driving around town with a Live Baltimore license plate, to referring new residents to us for assistance, we appreciate all that you do.
Meeting Baltimore’s opportunities for growth requires a multi-faceted plan of action. In 2013, we continued many of our successful programs while also turning our focus to the future. This meant upgrading the look of our brand and investing in many of our client-facing resources.
"We got to see some of the beauty in neighborhoods we have never taken the time to look at, even though we have lived in Baltimore for more than 10 years. We feel prepared to buy our first house in Baltimore."
Incentives, education, and community continued to be the focus of our events in 2013. We worked with experts—from lenders and realtors most familiar with the city to partner nonprofit and community organizations—to provide memorable experiences at every touchpoint.
2013 brought an answer to this long-asked question with the introduction of our new mobile-friendly website. Of the many features built into the relaunched LiveBaltimore.com, our neighborhood-finding system is among the most “brag-worthy.” By enabling geolocation on their cellphones, site visitors are now able to pinpoint their whereabouts by community.
Many of Baltimore’s biggest employers welcomed their 2013 recruits and new hires with our Relocation Kits. Renamed “City Living Kits” during our brand refresh, packages distributed through the program included maps and transportation resources, events schedules for museums and attractions, menus for local restaurants, community marketing materials, contact information for city services, and more.
Who knows a neighborhood better than the people who live there? Our exceptional volunteers were already some of Baltimore’s best ambassadors.
By joining our Neighborhood Know-It-All program in 2013, community members became easy-to-contact resources, who could share their personal experiences and passion for city living with new and prospective residents.
The success of our programming is visible. Not only do we serve greater numbers of individuals and families year after year, we see our customers continue to turn to us— even after their transition to residency—as they seek to become even more knowledgeable and engaged homeowners.
While the positive effects of our incentive events are felt long after they are held, their impacts are also immediate. In 2013, Live Baltimore helped to facilitate 62 downpayment and closing cost awards to homebuyers, for a total of $248,000 in combined assistance.
Underscoring the importance of Live Baltimore’s work with apartment partners, many individuals convert from renting to owning with our assistance. The majority of our incentive recipients commit to buying in Baltimore, having already enjoyed the benefits of city residency.
In the first year of ownership alone, Baltimore City properties purchased with Buying Into Baltimore Incentive awards will generate nearly $210,000 in city property tax revenues.
Live Baltimore was funded through a variety of sources in 2013, including:
2013 was a year of investment, leaving Live Baltimore poised for even more action in 2014. Already midway through our new fiscal year, we’re building on successes summarized in the preceding pages with a series of new endeavors.
Thank you to our FY 2013 individual, corporate, and foundation supporters.
Every effort was made to ensure the accuracy of this listing. If we have inadvertently omitted your name or listed it incorrectly, please accept our apologies and notify us of the error.
*term ended 12/31/13
**term began 1/1/14
This report was compiled by Live Baltimore and reflects Fiscal Year 2013 (July 2012–June 2013). Live Baltimore is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in the State of Maryland. A copy of our current financial statement is available upon request from our office. Financial documents and information about Live Baltimore submitted to the State of Maryland under the Maryland Charitable Solicitations Act are available from the Office of the Secretary of State for the cost of copying and postage. Copies of our federal tax returns (known as Form 990) may be found at www.guidestar.org.